Today’s question is about whether or not V8 Juice could be used as a post-ride recovery drink…

Hi Coach, I wonder if you have ever researched the effects of “Low Sodium” V-8 juice for recovery purposes… and/or making a diluted version of it to carry for rides… thanks…

– Darth V8er

Hi Darth,

I should really start by answering with a quick “no.”

Why? Because I tried V8 before (many years ago) and absolutely hated it. Tomato juice does not appeal to me at all. So I haven’t looked into V8 for any sort of purpose.

But we can look at it now and I’ll give you my opinion on using V8 as a recovery drink…

Nutrition facts per 8oz serving:

Calories 50
Total Fat 0g
Sat. Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 140mg
Potassium 820mg
Total Carb. 10g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 8g
Protein 2g

% Daily Values
Vitamin A 40%
Vitamin C 120%
Calcium 2%
Iron 2%

And the ingredients:

Tomatoes, onions, garlic, celery, beets, watercress, spinach, carrots, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt.

So…

I gotta say, I’m not impressed. Other than getting two servings of vegetables, I don’t see any benefit to V8.

Vegetables are great, but I recommend eating real vegetables in your diet instead of drinking V8. And timing vegetable intake after a ride is kind of pointless.

For post-ride recovery, it’s more important to take in calories in the form of carbohydrates and protein so you can refuel your glycogen stores and rebuild your muscles.

V8 is quite low on carbs and protein, the main components of a recovery drink. It’s relatively low on calories, too. It does contain sodium and potassium, but there are other electrolytes you need, so I wouldn’t count on V8 for your electrolytes, either.

In the end, if you’re one to need a recovery drink, you need the carbs and protein, the calories, and plenty of electrolytes. V8 just doesn’t have that. It’s no substitute for Endurox R4, Hammer Recoverite, etc.

If you don’t need a recovery drink, then V8 is a fine choice, or just drink water and eat a sandwich. You’ll be fine.

As for during-ride use… I can’t imagine using diluted V8 during exercise. It seems like that would be really disgusting. But even if it were tasty, it’s low in sugar, and it contains a decent amount of fiber. Two of the worst qualities for a sports drink!

If you enjoy V8, I’d just drink it as a snack, and stick with sports drinks or more common sports drink substitutes for workout and recovery beverages.

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5 Comments
  1. i enjoy a v8 sometimes and wondered about the same idea. as my mileage picks up for next summer’s events, i will try out some of these recommended recovery drinks.

  2. Ya, drink Powerade or Gatorade instead. It costs just as much but comes packed with colored water and sugar and little of everything else. Do not buy into stupid hype of energy drinks and recovery drinks and all that garbage. I just completed a 20 hour straight paddle across Lake Michigan on a kayak. Let me tell you one thing… All those “elecrolyte recovery” drinks are garbage, colored sugar water. One mini v8 drink satisfied my body and kept me going.
    And guess what.. I am not a kayaker, I am not an endurance athlete, I am an IT guy. In fact it was my 3rd time in a kayak the whole year. =)

  3. @Alex

    Powerade and Gatorade aren’t recovery drinks so I wouldn’t recommend them here either (not that I’d recommend them anyway). An endurance athlete training on a daily basis simply needs a hearty recovery drink with more than 10 grams of carbs. My reasoning is certainly not that V8 is bad or that recovery drinks are a healthier choice.

    If one mini V8 drink can power you across Lake Michigan, more power to ya!

    • Hi you,

      Thanks for sharing that article. However, all it says is that vegetable juice can be good for hydration and used as part of a complete meal. It does not say anything about V8 being a standalone recovery drink.

      In fact, it actually supports what I said here.

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